Jean Emerson: A favorite poem

So Much Happiness
by Naomi Shihab Nye

I love the joy in this poem.  I admire the precision of Naomi’s word choice and her excellent instructions for allowing happiness to be.

Jean Emerson
Santa Clara County and Sr. Citizen
-therefore exempt from disclosing my age.



So Much Happiness

It is difficult to know what to do with so much happiness.
With sadness there is something to rub against,
a wound to tend with lotion and cloth.
When the world falls in around you, you have pieces to pick up,
something to hold in your hands, like ticket stubs or change.

But happiness floats.
It doesn’t need you to hold it down.
It doesn’t need anything.
Happiness lands on the roof of the next house, singing,
and disappears when it wants to.
You are happy either way.
Even the fact that you once lived in a peaceful tree house
and now live over a quarry of dust and noise
cannot make you unhappy.
Everything has a life of its own,
it too could wake up filled with possibilities
of coffee cake and ripe peaches,
and love even the floor which needs to be swept,
the soiled linens and scratched records…

Since there is no place large enough
to contain so much happiness,
you shrug, you raise your hands, and it flows out of you
into everything you touch. You are not responsible.
You take no credit, as the night sky takes no credit
for the moon, but continues to hold it, and share it,
and in that way, be known.

Naomi Shihab Nye


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1 Comment

Filed under Favorite Poem

One response to “Jean Emerson: A favorite poem

  1. dennis richarson

    I always forget how much I love Naomi Shihad Nye”s poetry and what a lovely poem to remember her with. Thank you Jean for reminding us of So Much Happiness.

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